At the end of his life Rudolf Steiner took up the task that was his
special destiny; to bring to the West a knowledge of reincarnation and
karma. To do this he gave over eighty lectures in 1924 in which he
explicitly and concretely revealed the destinies of various individuals
from one life to the next in order to show how the general laws of karma
operate in individual cases. He also revealed many details of the karmic
streams of the members of the Anthroposophical Society. These volumes
constitute an immeasurable contribution to the understanding of
reincarnation and karma, and the tasks of the Anthroposophical Society
in connection with the Archangel Michael.
Sixteen lectures given at Dornach, Switzerland, between 6th April
and 29th June, 1924. Published here with the kind permission of the
Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.
Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer. The original
texts of the lectures are contained in Vol. II of the series entitled
Esoterische Betrachtungen karmischer Zusammenhänge in the
Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works. (No. 236 in
the Bibliographical Survey, 1961). Translated by George Adams
with revisions by M. Cotterell, C. Davy and D. S. Osmond
|Studies of karmic Relationships in the Course of History
|F. Bacon, Comenius, Marx, Engels, Otto Hausner
|April 06, 1924
Examples of karmic relationships. Lord Bacon of Verulam and Amos
Comenius. Marx and Engels. Otto Hausner.
|The Esoteric Trend in the Anthroposophical Movement
|April 12, 1924
The esoteric trend in the Anthroposophical Movement. Souls united by
karma work together in their pre-earthly existence. Leopold von Ranke,
influenced in his pre-earthly life by Bacon of Verulam. Schlosser by
Amos Comenius. One incarnation works across into later incarnations.
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer.
|The Study of History and the Observation of Man
|April 23, 1924
Study of history must centre around observation of man. The fruits of
earlier epochs are carried over into later times by human beings
themselves. Pestalozzi. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer. Emerson. Herman
|Reincarnation of Former Initiates, Ibsen, Wedekind, Hölderlein
|April 26, 1924
Reincarnations of former Initiates. Differences in the successive
earthly lives. Adaptation to new conditions of civilisation. Earlier
knowledge is submerged but not lost; it merely takes a different form
of expression. The great question in the Mysteries of Asia Minor during
the early Christian centuries. The ancient Initiate-wisdom of earlier
lives presses its way from the heart into artistic, poetic creation.
Ibsen, Frank Wedekind, Hölderlein, Hamerling.
|Wonder in Everyday Life, Nero, Crown Prince Rudolf
|April 27, 1924
The attitude of wonder towards the things of everyday life. Types of
character emerge from events in history, becoming impulses of soul
in subsequent earthly lives. The Emperor Nero. The Crown Prince Rudolf.
Good and evil viewed in the light of karma. The problem of destiny.
Temple architecture. Meditation in pictures. The Goetheanum Building
— an education for vision of karma.
|Karma in Human Life
|The Study of Karma and Moral Life
|May 04, 1924
The study of karma has value only when it flows into the moral life.
Man is little inclined to detach himself from his own being and to
give himself wholly to another. Spiritual endeavour is fraught with
the danger of enhanced egoism. Karmic adjustment between death and
a new birth. Karma casts its shadows or its light in advance.
Practical exercises for the vision of karma. Through ‘thinking
away’ the physical man, the impulses of Saturn, Sun and Moon
become visible behind him.
|Perception of Karma
|May 09, 1924
Perception of karma attained gradually through inner activity of soul.
The beginning of the path to knowledge is to fill our thoughts with
the infinitely wise provisions made in the world; then we must be able
to wait. Insight into karmic connections can be stimulated by
picturing vividly something experienced during the day; during the
night the astral body gives shape to the picture in the outer ether
which impregnates it with its own substance; the picture is further
elaborated during the second and third days and nights by the etheric
body and it is then received into the physical body, spiritualised
and transformed. Spiritual exertion is essential if will is to be
transformed into vision. In the study of karma, absolute clarity and
soundness of head and heart must prevail.
|Karmic Connections in Relation to the Physical
|May 10, 1924
Karmic connections in relation to the physical. Studies that approach
the study of karma from the side of the bodily form, the physiognomy
and the external manifestations of the human being in the physical
world. Certain types of character point back to definite behaviour
in the previously earthly life. Matter is the outer revelation of
the spiritual. The human form and its possibilities of movement are
an image of the spiritual world. Head, rhythmic system, metabolic-limb
system, in the stream of karmic development.
|The Inner Configuration of Karma, Reading World Script, Ten Aristotelian Concepts
|May 11, 1924
The inner configuration of karma. The shaping of karma is connected
with the primeval Teachers of humanity who now have their
dwelling-place in the Moon. The magic power of these Moon Beings.
The pictures of man's deeds in the ‘negative’. The strong
impressions of life in the soul-world on the backward journey after
death. In the region of the Moon Beings the pictures of earthly
experiences are imbued with cosmic substance. Reading the
World-Script in the light of the ten Aristotelian concepts.
Observation of the backward journey after death of two
individualities: the prototype of Strader in the Mystery Plays, and
Jacob Frohschammer. The transformation of man's being after
death in a sphere of reality utterly different from earthly reality.
The seed of karma and the ‘negatives’ inscribed into the
cosmic ether are received into the earthly will when the individual
returns to incarnation.
|The Shaping of Karma After Death
|Terrestrial and Extra-terrestrial Shaping of Karma
|May 16, 1924
The terrestrial world and the extra-terrestrial world work
quite differently upon the shaping of karma. The transition from
life shared with the Moon Beings to life shared with the higher
Hierarchies. Journey through the planetary spheres. What is in
essence human derives from the Sun-existence; the earthly
is but an image. Bad karma is left behind before man enters the
Sun-existence; it is found again in the Moon-sphere on the return
from cosmic existence. Homunculus in Goethe's Faust.
Predisposition to health arises in the Sun-existence; predisposition
to illness is engendered in the region below that of Sun-existence.
In the world of the Second Hierarchy, natural laws are without
validity. In the region of the First Hierarchy, the spiritual laws
are transformed into the physical.
|Beings of the Spiritual World and the Shaping of Karma
|May 18, 1924
Beings of the spiritual world and the part they play in human karma.
Man's connection with the beings of the kingdoms of nature and with
the higher Hierarchies of spiritual Beings. Karmic demands and karmic
fulfilments. Unborn-ness and Immortality. Modern cleverness and its
failure to give support in the later years of life. Concrete reality
of man's relation to the higher Hierarchies.
|Influence of the Hierarchies, Planetary Beings, Voltaire
|May 29, 1924
Influence of the Hierarchies and reflections of the planetary Beings.
Imaginative and Inspired consciousness. Life after death in the
planetary spheres. Elaboration of karma in union with the higher
spiritual Beings. Voltaire. Eliphas Levi. Victor Hugo.
|Understanding Karmic Connections
|May 30, 1924
Understanding of karmic connections depends upon insight into what
is happening in the world behind man's ordinary consciousness,
therefore upon super-sensible cognition. Survey of the life-tableau.
In acts of Imaginative and Inspired knowledge man still remains
within the physical body. The physical body as the bearer of spiritual
Beings. Karma is shaped by the gods who are working within the human
being. Freedom is acquired through the development of the Consciousness
Soul. Human destiny an affair of the gods. Tranquil acceptance of
destiny kindles forceful and strong spiritual impulses. Scenes in the
|The Cosmic Form of Karma and the Study of Individual Karmic Relationships
|The Study of Problems Connected with Karma
|June 22, 1924
Concerning the sense of responsibility in regard to communications
from the spiritual world. Spiritual science and the writing of a
biography. How and where does higher vision perceive karma working
in the life of a man? Deeds of the day are translated, integrated
into karma during sleep. During sleep man has memory-experiences
of his own lives on earth. Behind the cosmic thoughts live the
Hierarchies, just as our own human being lives behind our
memory-thoughts. Karma is contained in the ‘section’
of the cosmos allotted to each of us by the Hierarchies who look
back over our previous earthly lives.
|Groups of Human Souls United by their Karma
|June 27, 1924
Groups of human souls united by their karma. The connection of events
in Nature with the karma of humanity. The influence of karma upon
external Nature in volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and
similar phenomena. Behind and through the workings of the Sun weave
the Beings of the Second Hierarchy. The “Midnight Sun”.
From the world of the Second Hierarchy the Third Hierarchy rays on
us during sleep through the traces of our thoughts left behind in
the etheric body. Into the weaving and working of the Second
Hierarchy there strikes the First Hierarchy. These two Hierarchies
together are concerned with man's astral body and Ego.
Initiation-vision in cult and ritual. “True ritual comes
into existence as a copy of happenings in the spiritual world”.
|Karma Viewed from the Standpoint of World History
|June 29, 1924
Karma viewed from the standpoint of world-history. Social systems
created under the influence of materialistic thinking. Events in
elemental Nature and events due to civilisation. Luciferic and
Ahrimanic powers play into the deeds wrought by the gods for man.
Difference in the karmic consequences of Nature-catastrophes and
catastrophes due to civilisation. Moon-forces remaining in the
earth are stirred into activity and used by the Ahrimanic forces.
Nature-catastrophes lead to the introduction of an earthly element
into the spiritual worlds. The karmic consequence of
Nature-catastrophes and of catastrophes brought about by
civilisation is enhancement of the intellectual faculties of
the will respectively, in the next earthly life. Through misguided
impulses in civilisation a Luciferic element is carried into the
spiritual world, working in that world as darkness, of which Ahriman
can avail himself. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. The good
gods lead human destinies again into the paths of righteousness
and justice. The destiny of men is in-woven with the destiny of gods.
Knowledge of karma is the holy ground of the spirit where we reach
out for the hands of the gods.